[toggle]From Tohoku to the World
In addition to reflecting on their post-disaster church, the network of Japanese pastors provided advice for their brothers and sisters around the world on preparing for and responding to disasters as leaders.
Matsuda admitted that his team felt overwhelmed, overworked, and anxious at first. “What gave me life again was to return to a rhythm of sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to his word, and obeying it. I now believe that a steady commitment to this way of life is the only way to prepare for unexpected disasters and survive in the midst of chaos.”
Nagai urged leaders to “be open to being changed. Whether COVID-19 or a tsunami, no one is exempt from change in a crisis. God is constantly looking for his ‘new wine skin’ to work with, and he sometimes uses a disaster or trial to form us into that vessel.”
“Church leaders should all consider responding to a disaster now,” said Otomo. “It is too late to think about it after the disaster. If your church has a clear vision on this matter, you will be ready to respond. If not, it will be difficult to maintain good works when times like this come. Once you’ve decided it is important, building your local church network is the first step.”
“We must see disaster and crisis as normal and not as something that catches us by surprise,” Takazawa said. “Leaders tend to see the period of time without crisis or disaster as normal, so crisis becomes something to just get through or something outside of God’s control. But God is always working in the crisis and Jesus warned that they will even intensify.
“It is also important to listen to the people who were there from before the crisis and who will still be there when it has gone,” he said. “God has already placed leadership within that community, so if you are going to help as an outsider, listen to, support, and serve local leadership.” [/toggle]







[toggle]The Next 10 Years
On the 10th anniversary of the triple disaster, Japanese churches continue allowing themselves to be shaken into action rather than growing complacent. They are able to look back with thankfulness at God’s transformational work this decade, but maintain a holy discontent with the state of the church even after such recovery and change.
“I hope to see more churches standing up for their own communities and serving in the name of Jesus Christ with wisdom and skills born out of the experience of disaster,” said Otomo.
“God saw even before the disaster that there were sheep without a shepherd on the coast. The country has recovered but is still in spiritual poverty in these areas,” said Hari, noting that a third of municipal areas in Japan are unchurched. Today he works with hundreds of leaders across Japan to grow networks and inspire a church multiplication movement.
“I dream of mobilizing the Japanese church to those areas and having a church with the heart to respond to physical disaster but also spiritual disaster,” he said. “Two or three people gathered in Christ’s name is the beginning of a church. I dream of seeing a local church in every municipality in Japan.”
“Even—especially—in a time that seemed hopeless, we were reminded that our help was on the way,” said Nagai. “So today we have confidence that God has prepared a better and brighter future for us.” [/toggle]








原口 建

原口 建